Sometimes, all you need to be happy is… an easy recipe with just two simple ingredients!
That’s the case of potatoes and flour, the only ingredients you’ll need to make homemade potato gnocchi.
Potato gnocchi is a classic Italian pasta dish, one of those recipes which makes you remember about childhood Sundays spent in the kitchen with your Nonna (Granma).
There are many different ways gnocchi are made, with squashes or spices or with additional ingredients which make them colourful, such as spinach or beetroots. Here’s the basic, traditional recipe with potatoes.
You can dress them with a good quality tomato sauce, a ragù, butter&sage, cheese or… a great Pesto alla genovese, why not? You won’t go wrong in any case.
How to make potato gnocchi from scratch
Forget the potato gnocchi you usually find at the supermarket: these are totally different, I assure you! Plus, when you’ll have read how simply they are made from scratch, you’ll be amazed and wonder why you haven’t started making them at home earlier!
First of all, here are three rules to have a great result. If you follow them, your potato gnocchi will have the right consistency and a great flavour.
- Use the right potato variety! The potatoes you need to choose for this recipe are the white ones, high in starch and low in moisture, with a floury texture. Why? Because you don’t want them to absorb too much flour, which would affect gnocchi flavour. For the same reason, avoid new potatoes!
- Use a scale! The quantity of flour you will add to the potatoes when making the dough will depend on the potatoes texture, so it makes no sense to be too stiff in following the recipe proportions, but remember, you should never go beyond a certain amount of flour (approx. 300 gr per kilo of potatoes), or your gnocchi will be hard.
- Be patient. Smash the boiled potatoes when still hot, but allow them to cool down before adding flour, or it will be tough for you to make a dough with the right quantity of flour.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- White floury potatoes, 1 Kg (or 2.2 lb)
- All purpose flour, approx. 250 gr (or 8.80 oz). You may need less flour or slightly more, based on the potatoes moisture, let’s say in a range between 200 and 300 gr (or 7.05 to 10.58 oz)
- A pinch of salt
Boil the potatoes in salted water until you can easily sting them with a fork. Drain, skin and smash them until you have a purée. Add a pinch of salt to it.
Let the purée cool down and add the flour. Start by adding 200 gr of it and using a fork to make a dough, then knead it with your hands. It has not to be a hard dough, but it should not be too sticky neither. In my experience, with the potatoes I use, 250 gr. is the right amount of flour I need. Add the flour until you get a uniform mass which will not be perfectly smooth, but not too difficult to be handled.
And that’s it! The dough is ready and you can now shape the gnocchi.
Take a piece of dough and roll it on a floured surface into ropes about 3/4 inch in diameter.
Cut the ropes into pieces: you’re almost there!
Gently roll every piece into your hands for a few seconds to get little ball-shaped pieces, then comes the the fun part: If you like gnocchi to have their characteristic stripes on their surface, you’ll need to roll them again, one after another, on a fork or, better, on a wooden tool like the one in the following photo, applying a gentle pressure (you can find the gnocchi tool here!).
If you are not the most patient person in the world, I’m going to tell you a secret. Apart from a aesthetic matter, potato gnocchi have a gorgeous flavour even if you choose to skip this step and cook them right after you cut them (and round them, if you feel like to).
But come on, the effort will be worth it. Look at how cute they are with their striped surface!
Cook them in salted boiling water for some minutes, they’re ready as soon as they rise to the surface. Dress them as you like.
Homemade potato gnocchi
- Prep time: 1 hour and a half
- Yield: serves 6
- Tips: do not add too much flour to the dough, cook the gnocchi right after you made it, or in not more than a few hours. And of course, do not overcook them!
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